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Packer agreed to ‘no crime links’ for Barangaroo; project faces possible delays

Following a request from Greens MP John Kaye, Crown’s VIP Gaming Management Agreement was made available to the upper house today. The agreement, which had been kept secret until now, includes “prevention of associations with Stanley Ho” in order for James Packer to secure the licence for his casino at Barangaroo from the state government and liquor and gaming regulatory authorities.

“To the extent to which it is within its power to do so, Crown will ensure that it prevents any new business activities or transactions of a material nature between Stanley Huang Sun Ho or a Stanley Ho associate and Crown, any of Crown’s offices directors or employees or any Crown subsidiary,” the agreement states.

The agreement also includes a compliance program under which “Crown will on a quarterly basis conduct searches of Crown and Crown’s wholly owned businesses to ascertain if any payments were made to Stanley Huang Sun Ho or a Stanley Ho associate during the previous quarter.”

In addition, Crown may also not enter into Melco Crown or any subsidiary for the operation of a “prohibited junket”.

James Packer is in business with Mr Ho’s son, Lawrence Yau Lung Ho, in Macau and Philippines through the joint venture Melco Crown. Crown has stated that gaming regulators had found Lawrence Ho had nothing to do with his father. “As part of our normal probity processes, Mr Lawrence Ho, the managing director of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, (a company in which Crown has a 33.6% interest) has provided requested probity information and has been interviewed by gaming regulators in Australia and internationally — including gaming regulators in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Nevada and Pennsylvania,” the statement said.

In separate news, a payment dispute between Crown’s Sydney casino partner, Lend Lease and the New South Wales government is delaying the Barangaroo development. The project is on hold while the two parties discuss the final amount to be paid upon completion of development. According to The Australian Financial Review, a court ruling in favour of Lend Lease three months ago has given the government concerns about costs for public infrastructure at the Barangaroo site. However, there is currently no end date for settlement talks with the ASX-listed developer and it is unclear whether the targeted 2019 opening for Crown Sydney will be impacted.

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